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The Associated Press April 19, 2011, 10:14AM ET

Ariz. voters get ballot issue on campaign funding

Arizona lawmakers have approved a measure that will ask voters whether the state should do away with its public campaign funding system.

The Senate voted Monday to place on the November 2012 ballot a referendum that would amend the Arizona Constitution to bar use of public money for candidates' campaigns.

The measure would effectively kill Arizona's so-called Clean Elections public campaign funding system, created by voters in 1998. Critics of the system say tax dollars shouldn't be used for candidates' campaigns. Supporters say it reduces the influence of big-money interests.

One key element of the system is under legal review. The U.S. Supreme Court last month heard arguments on a challenge to matching funds paid to participating candidates who are outspent by privately funded rivals or targeted by independent expenditures.

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